Austria’s ORF news presenter Armin Wolf

Russian President Vladimir Putin tells Austrian TV that he and President Trump have a close working relationship, although it's complicated by U.S. politics.

"You should ask our colleagues in the United States. In my opinion, this is the result of the ongoing acute political struggle in the United States. Indeed, Donald Trump and I have, firstly, met more than once at various international venues and secondly, we regularly talk over the phone."

Interviewer: "You and Donald Trump talk so nicely over the telephone, but Trump has been President for a year and a half and there still has not been a bilateral summit between you, in contrast to Bush and Obama with whom you met within the first six months of their presidencies. Why is it taking so long?"

Putin: 

  • "Our foreign affairs departments and special services are working fairly well together in areas of mutual interest, above all in the fight against international terrorism. This work is ongoing."
  • "As for personal meetings, I think that the possibility of these meetings depends to a large extent on the internal political situation in the United States...."
  • "In a recent telephone conversation, Donald said he was worried about the possibility of a new arms race. I fully agree with him."
  • "[W]e will do all we can to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula. So of course we pin great hopes on the personal meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, because mutual claims have gone way too far."

P.S... Putin is challenged on the head of the Internet Research Agency, which was behind much of the effort to sway western elections in recent years:

  • Interviewer: "These so-called troll factories are owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin – you know him very well, he is referred to as “Putin’s chef”, since he caters for all your guests. Is it good that a person who maintains such close relations with the Russian leadership is managing troll factories?
  • Putin: "You have just said that Mr Prigozhin is referred to as “Putin’s chef”. Indeed, he runs a restaurant business, it is his job; he is a restaurant keeper in St Petersburg. But now let me ask you: do you really think that a person who is in the restaurant business, even if this person has some hacking opportunities and owns a private firm engaged in this activity – I do not even know what he does – could use it to sway elections in the United States or a European country? Could it be that the media and political standards in the countries of the consolidated West have been driven down to such a low level that a Russian restaurant keeper can sway voters in a European country or the United States? Isn’t it ridiculous?"

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - World

Protests erupt in Belarus after "Europe's last dictator" claims election win

Protesters and riot police clash in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday during a demonstration against President Alexander Lukashenko's claim of a landslide victory. Photo: Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

Riot police clashed with protesters in Belarus overnight after a government exit poll predicted Sunday President Aleksander Lukashenko, an authoritarian who has ruled the Eastern European country since 1994, had overwhelmingly defeated a pro-democracy opposition candidate.

Why it matters: It's a precarious moment for the former Soviet republic, where decades of repression and a complete disregard for the coronavirus pandemic threaten to topple "Europe's last dictator." Rights groups said at least one protester was killed and dozens more wounded in a "police crackdown," per AP.

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 19,909,062 — Total deaths: 732,128 — Total recoveries — 12,138,271Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 5,053,123 — Total deaths: 163,047 — Total recoveries: 1,656,864 — Total tests: 61,792,571Map.
  3. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
  4. Public health: How America can do smarter testing.
  5. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Indoor air is the next hotspot.

Twitter jumps into the fray for TikTok

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Twitter is the latest to join the cast of the ongoing spectacle that is TikTok’s battle to stay open for business in the U.S., per a new report from the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The saga to keep TikTok available to U.S. users is getting more complicated, with the company already in a President Trump-imposed time crunch and juggling a number of options.